Thursday, December 06, 2012

Michael Lewis' The Blind Side

I am late to it, but just read Michael Lewis' The Blind Side, the story about how Michael Oher went from homeless to NFL left tackle through the intervention of rich people in Memphis. It's an unusual and intriguing story--Lewis makes the evolution of the left tackle really interesting--but ultimately the book didn't uplift me much, and Lewis didn't intend it to. It's a reminder that sports plays an absurd role in our lives. Oher is essentially a large piece of meat, viewed primarily in financial terms, as is the case with all his teammates at Ole Miss. Almost no one cares about them at all. They get sucked from the ghetto to entertain rich white people, and then go back to the ghetto once their playing eligibility ends. Absent his amazing size, strength, and speed, Oher would've gone nowhere. Lewis talks to men in the housing projects who once were phenoms, and now are drug dealers.

Therefore it's also a story about the strong racial divide that still exists in Tennessee, Mississippi, and elsewhere. Football brings the two together in ways that reinforce de facto segregation. So the "feel good" story is depressing. It's a reminder of how many lives are still being wasted.

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